Why Empathy Dolls are effective with Dementia?

Tried and trusted by Care Homes, Hospitals and those living in their own homes​

dementia doll

A source of delight and comfort suitable for both mums and Dads. provide positive results in managing dementia care. help explore common feelings and emotions in those who have difficulty in expressing themselves

Empathy Dolls are now an accepted use by the Care Industry to give a parent comfort and joy. Being a parent is obviously a major part of someone’s life experience. The joy and challenges of parenting being very memorable. 

These childhood years are so memorable which often means it’s these long term memories fade slowest which probably explains why Empathy Dolls can work so well.

Verified Buyer
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I am so pleased with my purchase, he is so well made, so gorgeous. My Mum has altheimers and they have this, what I call Blue, Baby, Boy at her current care home and my Mum just loves him, he gives her so much pleasure and comfort, unfortuantly Mum is having to change care homes so that is why I have purchased one for her to take to her new home. I shopped around to get the best price and found Outwood Care to be by far the best. Thank you.
Sue J.
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I bought Ida for my mother who is in care, suffering from dementia. Mum has fallen in love with Ida and treats her just like a little girl. Having Ida has given Mum someone to care for all day long and it is very obvious she loves her very much. Thankyou!
Sue J.
Verified Buyer
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I bought Ida for my mother who is in care, suffering from dementia. Mum has fallen in love with Ida and treats her just like a little girl. Having Ida has given Mum someone to care for all day long and it is very obvious she loves her very much. Thankyou!
Michael T.
Verified Buyer
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The real life like eyes sewn on well to this doll makes the appearance special, particulally for the patient. Its “warm” cuddly and very safe to handle. Somewhat pricy though, having said that I could not find anything similar for less. Certainly worth getting one of these dolls.

Cheap Empathy  Dolls

As is often the case, cheapest isn’t always best. These two reports from the BBC discuss the use of Doll in Dementia therapy.



Both are now old and at a time when the benefits of Empathy Dolls were only becoming apparent. What wasn’t realised then was what type of Empathy Doll would be suitable. In fact, there weren’t any Empathy Dolls available at that time.

How to choose the best Empathy Doll

Nowadays experts use the term “living with” Dementia or Alzheimers rather than “suffering from”. It’s an important difference.

Just because the parent is losing or has lost some abilities to communicate as they once did does not mean that they have become children again. In fact, they may exhibit behaviour we relate to children but they are very much an adult person with all the memories and experience they have accumulated.

Why then, would anyone give a childs doll, found in a toyshop to a parent. It is both demeaning and inappropriate.

Be careful with Dolls that make a noise as they could cause distress

In fact, there are very good reasons we created Dementia Dolls.

Our Empathy Dolls meet the need of quality and design for Dementia or Alzheimers

There is little evidence that a Parent with later stages Dementia can tell the difference between life like, plastic and our dolls when they look at the face. However other models are not necessarily going to be safe for your parent.

All our dolls are made in a soft polyester fleece to feel warm and comfortable. The bottom is firmly weighted which allows the dolls to sit comfortable and feel realistic in someone’s arms. That a very important distinction from “toy dolls”. The eyes and facial structures of outwoodcares dementia dolls are what makes them stand out from other dolls. It is no secret that their popularity is because of their cheerful and lifelike appearance. It takes about 100 different hand movements to make one single doll.

Be careful with child dolls- Some people with Dementia eat the hair

Frequently, a mum and dad will care for one of our Dementia Dolls just like their own child for hours on end. Then, fling the Dementia Doll across the room and ignore it. Sometimes the parent ends up tearing the doll apart. The next day, the parent is back to caring for their Dementia Doll in a loving and caring way. Such is the effect Dementia or Alzheimers can have. 

So our Dementia Dolls are CE marked and guaranteed for safety having been tested according to safety regulations.

Empathy Dolls can calm and relax both you and your Mum

Sue, a leading carer with over 25 years experience in Care homes writes:

“Dementia Dolls: I recently experienced the positive effect an dementia doll can have on an individual. Elsie, living within a dementia care facility, had become increasingly afraid of taking a bath or shower. Her daughter had bought a dementia doll, knowing her mother cherished the babies born into the family, so we tried to incorporate the bath-time of baby into Elsie’s daily routine. Washing the ‘baby’, singing lullabies and settling it down for the night relaxed Elsie. Singing those same songs and keeping a calm atmosphere we took Elsie for a warm bubble bath. And we have never looked back! Elsie is still enjoying a bath; her daughter is delighted her mother is now bathing; and the doll? Well it is a bit soggy and worn, but still well-loved.”

Apart from a lovely experience for Elsie, its also important to note that you as her carer need support too. Caring for and enjoying one of our Dementia Dolls is both a relaxing and rewarding experience for both you and your Mum & dad. Its a good way to recharge both you and their batteries for what often is a very stressful time.

What to consider

  • Is it safe
  • How will it be used
  • No  one wants to demean a parent with children’s toys
  • You may want to build a changing areas too for your Dementia Doll. A box of wipes and creams can be useful. Don’t forget a bottle of baby powder. That is frequently such a memorable smell- It takes most people straight back to childhood!
  • Fluffy towels and water to wash the doll too.
  • Mum & dad may also like a small crib where they can place their Dementia Doll down for the night. It needn’t be elaborate, just somewhere that looks cosy.

What our customers say about our Empathy Dolls

So, as a fire protection engineer and having worked in both residential, and nursing care homes, I was originally surprised, even upset, to see the in-patients cuddling knitted dolls and animals. It’s now been over two years since our mum was diagnosed with dementia and I gave up my job to care for her. However now, but more sadly, she has reached the point where her hallucinations are her reality and she fluctuates from being extremely distressed to wanting her baby son ‘Martin’; and the constant appeal for her baby ‘Martin’, who had ‘gone missing’, got us thinking. As our mum lives in her own house, with private carers, our decision was to invested in Emil from outwoodcare which upon arrival was, discreetly, left it on mum’s sofa – the response was bizarre. It triggered two responses one, that her half understanding that this was a ‘doll’ seemed to be outweighed by her two, then talking to it as if it were real? Please understand, it’s not a miracle cure for her distress, but it has provided us with the ‘baby’ to enable us to distract her from some of her nastier visions. At the point of writing this review we seem to have crossed another bridge, there will be many more, but the investment in Emil seems to have proved beneficial, so far. We wish you well.

How do you care for our Empathy Dolls


Our Dementia Dolls are Designed for Dementia. All dolls can be machine washed, all clothes should be hand washed.

Buy your Empathy Doll here

Choose which one will suit your Mum or Dad the best. We have next day shipping on most items in stock.

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"It's ok".
All about using Dementia Dolls